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Carrots, not sticks, help to create better drivers

With road safety in mind, should young and new drivers be punished or encouraged when their driving is less than perfect.

Carrots, not sticks, help to create better drivers

With road safety in mind, should young and new drivers be punished or encouraged when their driving is less than perfect.


Incentives, rather than punishment, are known to be an effective method for changing behaviour - scientists and researchers have recognised this for some time now. So, this can work well when training a puppy to walk or heel, but can this be a useful method in life or death situations? 

We're talking about how to get new and young drivers to remember that when they're behind the wheel of a car, their trip to the local cinema can quickly become a life or death experience. Traditionally, this concept of "carrot insurance" is when the lower insurance premium is always out of reach and incentivises the driver to act responsibly but never truly receive the reward.

The statistics just don't lie – young drivers are very much more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers aged 25 and over. And for this reason, car insurance is priced high for young drivers – stick number one.

While early telematics insurers argued that their black box car insurance products could offer incentives to young drivers, there were some parties who felt they still used unnecessary restrictions to help keep young drivers from having too much freedom – stick number two.

Even the Government couldn't decide

In March 2013 plans for a green paper were unveiled by the Government in which the Department for Transport said it would look at ways of "improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers". But, in January 2014, the discussion was put on hold indefinitely.

Many groups felt that the original proposals were just too many sticks. It had been proposed that:

  • candidates for a driving test should have a minimum learning period (not that the DfT said what that period should be – but it would probably have meant the end of intensive driving courses followed immediately by a practical test)
  • newly qualified drivers would have their probationary period (the time during which their licence could be revoked if they received six or more penalty points) lengthened from two to three years the driving test would be made more rigorous
  • temporary restrictions, such as curfews and the banning of young passengers, for newly qualified drivers (although these were never formally published).

All in all, the green paper looked like an awful lot of sticks and too few carrots; alienating young drivers and tarring them all with the same brush.

Drive Wiser and carrots

In the field of telematics and black box car insurance, the Drive Wiser main incentive, our proverbial carrot, is cheaper car insurance. We don't use sticks – automatic penalties, curfews, limited mileage – we just want to help you drive safely and within the law.

Yes, we require that you have a black box fitted in your car and, yes, we will collect information about the journeys your car makes, but we use the information to inform you about your driving - this information can help you identify any potentially dangerous or risky driving habits and address them quickly helping us keep the price of your future car insurance down. And here's another carrot - the driving data can assist in the event of a claim, because it can help determine who was at fault in an accident, so we can help you keep your No Claims Discount and protect your excess, which can often be hundreds of pounds.

One last carrot - in the event that your car is reported stolen - as long as the black box device remains in the vehicle it will send out signals and could prove useful in assisting the police in its recovery.

Get a black box car insurance quote today with Drive Wiser.